Democrats Defeat All 17 Republican Amendments to Rules for ‘Impeachment Inquiry’

Jim McGovern (Samuel Corum / Getty)
Samuel Corum / Getty

Democrats on the House Rules Committee repeatedly voted along party lines Wednesday to defeat Republican amendments to the rules proposed in the resolution formally authorizing an impeachment inquiry.

Again and again, Republicans offered amendments to restore the rules used in previous impeachment inquiries.

For example, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) offered an amendment to allow the president’s counsel to be represented in all of the committees investigating impeachment, not just in the House Judiciary Committee.

Past impeachments have only been investigated by the House Judiciary Committee, where witnesses could be questioned by counsel for the president. The new process incorporates investigations being conducted by several different committees, and there is no guarantee that witnesses in those committees will ever be questioned by the president’s counsel.  That amendment was defeated along strict party lines.

When Rep. Rob Wooddall (R-GA) objected to the fact that the new rules continue to allow secret hearings, and to bar the president’s counsel from most of the investigative process, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) claimed that the House’s power over impeachment was unlimited. “[W]e have the power to get the information that we want in the manner in which we want to get it,” he declared.

Similarly, Democrats defeated a simple amendment to allow members of the House Intelligence Committee to yield speaking time to other members. The resolution only permits them to yield to professional committee staff. The majority also defeated an amendment to allow the minority equal power to object to witnesses called by the chair — as had been done in previous inquiries — and claimed Trump was being given more rights than in previous cases.

Democrats said that concerns about the president’s due process rights did not apply during impeachment, which they likened to the “grand jury” process in a criminal investigation.

Republicans countered that impeachment was more than a simple criminal investigation, and noted that while a grand jury is conducted in secrecy, Democrats had been leaking testimony to the press throughout the inquiry.

The second-ranking member of the committee is Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), a former federal judge who holds the distinction of being one of only eight people in the history of the U.S. ever impeached and removed from office.

Update: Democrats defeated every single one of the 17 amendments offered by Republicans to the process.


Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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